This may sound ‘fishky’ to you, but the combination of whiskey and herring is an age-old Jewish tradition from way back in the ‘old country’. In bitterly cold winter climates, whiskey warmed the cockles of the heart, and herring, with its high content of omega-3 oils (much more than salmon, tuna, or mackerel) which humans cannot produce, provided a ready supply of a oils essential to health.
We, Jewish people, have been the most travelled, dispersed, and far ranging, immigrant wanderers, in the history of the world. For some thousand years Europe was our seat of exile. And culinary practices die hard. Kishkeh, gribbenes, yapchik, and gogel-mogel (the latter drunk separately to separate meat and milk), have since disappeared from the contemporaryAmerican, Australian and South African cuisines. But they were once the de rigueur but two generations ago.
They may no longer be the cornerstone of camaraderie and amity, but whiskey and herring still combine successfully imbuing us with a warm fuzzy nostalgia that connects us to our immediate past roots, creating an ‘old-world’ ambience that comforts our ancient soul.